Last week I led a full-day workshop for a sales team that was challenged to transition from living as “service reps” who served customers and maintained their territories into proactive sellers focused on revenue growth. Let’s just say that it was a fun assignment and it had been a long time since I had the opportunity to preach this extensively about the proper mindset and motivation for sales success.
Before the workshop I was cautioned by leaders in the company, and even tipped off by one member of the sales team, that the salespeople were quite apprehensive about my session. There was a resistance to even being called “salespeople” and pretty much a general admission by the group (due to previous company leadership with a strong anti-sales bias) that sales was icky. Icky, of course, is a highly technical term implying that sales is not a respectable profession, or even a profession at all.
Having been forewarned about what I was walking into, I changed up my planned agenda the night before the meeting and chose to lead off the day with a very different kind of exercise. I asked these “service reps” to articulate their own perspective on sales and to list attributes and descriptions of the stereotypical low view of salespeople. The answers they shared were predictable.
But then I turned the table and had them describe what they thought was the proper view, mindset, and motivation of truly professional salespeople who had their customers’ best interest at heart. And while they were listing these attributes, I made my own list which we left up at the front of the room for the balance of the day.
Sales Friends, I’m keenly aware that the vast majority of you reading this don’t have a low view of sales, but I am also convinced that every so often, it is good to be reminded of our WHY – why we sell.
When we view ourselves as value creators, professional problem solvers, experts, consultants, and trusted advisors, everything in sales and about sales is better:
- We’re more proud of what we do and more confident in our approach to our job
- Prospects and customers immediately perceive that we are different than the stereotypical self-focused seller
- Our messaging gets based on how we help, create value, solve problems, and help customers achieve better results/outcomes
- Sales calls become true dialogues, real conversations
- We face less anti-sales resistance and customer meetings don’t feel adversarial – instead they feel like we are there working together with the customer instead of pitching at them
- We are much more willing to prospect (dare I say, even pick up the phone) because we don’t see ourselves as a nuisance; we properly view ourselves as helpers who care and who are calling because the prospect is likely stuck and needs us
I’m proud to call myself a salesperson. And when your mindset and motivation for selling are correct, you will be, too.